TEXT: 1 CORINTHIANS 1: 18-25
READING: GALATIANS 6: 1-18
SUBJ: The preaching of the cross of Christ as setting before us the Gospel of our salvation through the suffering of Christ as a sacrifice for our sins.
AIM: That we may ever glory in none but Christ and Him crucified, risen, and coming again and that we may be repulsed at any other claims to salvation.
INTR: Having addressed the issues involving unity, and with more issues to be resolved, Paul would proceed no further without declaring that which was essential to saving faith. This he does in the next several verses.
1. Nothing else is of concern if we are not in proper consideration of the cross of Christ. We may exhibit much in the way of human kindness and other things perceived to be of merit and err greatly in a failure to believe and embrace the work of the cross of Christ.
2. God does not present His appointed remedy as an option - it is set off against all human wisdom as the only way of salvation.
3. Men persist in declaring their independence from the rule of God and, apart from His grace, will at best offer their own version of salvation and at worst deny Him altogether.
THESIS: The preaching of the cross of Christ is the means through which the power of God unto salvation is both revealed and made effectual in them that believe and disputes all claims of the wisdom of this world.
I. The power of God (vv. 18-20)
1. We are ever confronted with two kinds of people - those who are perishing and those who are saved.
2. They are clearly distinguished based on one thing - their perception of the cross.
1) To the perishing it is foolishness - worthy of no significant consideration, let alone surrendering to the crucified life. See: He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)
2) To us who are saved - all that God declared in sending His Son to the cross was required and made effectual in bringing in of salvation.
3. It is manifesting the design of God that the wisdom of men be found ineffective in saving men.
1) It is written: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. (Isaiah 29:14)
2) We are clearly taught by the prophets that the wisdom man is nothing and yields damnation.
3) For centuries men have proposed the salvation of men through the devices of men, and all have come to naught.
4. Three classes of men - the wise, the scribe, the disputer - all are foolish in elevating their own wisdom.
II. The Wisdom of God (vv. 21-23)
1. The choice of God in the revelation of Himself and the way of salvation often eludes men as to why it is so.
2. We note the elements of this most profound statement:
1) God in His wisdom determined that men would not discover Him by their own wisdom even thought ample evidence of the being and existence of God is well known.
2) Paul made this declaration in Romans 1:22 "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools..."
3) It rather pleased God to use that which the world considers foolishness to save them that believe - Examine why they might consider it foolish and why we believe it!
3. Paul identifies two foolish approaches to God:
1) The Jews require a sign - looking for an outward and sensational proof of all...
2) The Greeks sought after a sane, logical approach to all things - what was being preached would not submit to the understanding of the wisest of men.
4. So then, Christ crucified became a stumbling block to those whose expectations included a Messiah after the models of men - not a man crucified between two thieves.
5. And to the Greeks it was pure foolishness.
6. The thought is that for 4000 years the Lord had been demonstrating the failures and human wisdom and then fully reveals His own in His Son.
III. The Revelation of God (vv. 24-25)
1. To whom - them which are called (Romans 8:28 and others) from among both Jews and Greeks.
2. Their perception of Christ:
1) The power of God to save and to conquer sin and death in His people.
2) The wisdom of God - in all that He has designed for His glory in the salvation of His people - the redemption that could only have been devised and executed by Him.
3. V. 25 reiterates what has gone before:
1) The Gospel (that which the world calls foolish) is wiser that men and,
2) The lowest and simplest revelations of God are infinitely stronger than men.